Marvel: A Brief History


Courtesy of Comic Vine

Denis Mardesich, A&E Editor

Marvel, it’s a name that most of us know very well. With blockbuster movies coming out by the minute and characters being recognized nationally it’s no doubt that it’s had quite a bit of success, but like all things it started off small, so let’s have a look at Marvel’s growth throughout the years by having a look at its history.

Marvel Comics was founded in 1939 by Martin Goodman in New York City, under the name Timely Publications. At this time comic books were becoming very popular across the United States, creating an era that would later become known as the “Golden Age” of comics. The debut of Timely publications came in the form of the series “Marvel Comics”, a name which the company would later take for itself. The first edition of this series was published in October of 1939.

The next few years of Timely Publications lifespan would be pretty simple, however in 1941 the company would create one of its biggest hits yet, Captain America. The first issue of the “Captain America” series was published in the wake of the Pearl Harbor disaster, and a figure like Captain America represented a lot of the patriotism and power that America had needed at the time, this was one of the main reasons that the comic had blew up, selling over 1 million copies and birthing one of the most iconic superheroes of all time.

Throughout the 40’s Marvel would continue to be successful, and would create many iconic comics throughout the “Golden Age” that would be very influential in the shaping of early superhero culture.

By the beginning of the 50’s, the “Golden Age” was coming to an end, and with this came the conclusion of the “Captain America” series, it was at this time that superheroes were becoming much less popular to American audiences, which meant that Marvel would have to go through a few changes.

These changes came in the form of a name change from “Timely Publications” to “Atlas Comics”. During this era Marvel would become a bit lost in its goals, which would be notable in the form of a decline in quality, with comics being very cheap and not having the same spirit that Marvel had once possessed.

However, in the 60’s Marvel seemed to get back on track, with a return to superhero comic books, starting with “Fantastic Four” and a final change in name to Marvel Comics. In the next few decades Marvel would show an amazing rise to the top, filled with phenomenal characters and great plots that would entertain people of all age groups.

During these next few decades Marvel would expand its reach further than just comics, creating a larger company, Marvel Entertainment Group, that would manage and control all other branches of the company. This would lead to the creation of various companies, and the purchase of various businesses.

It was one of these purchases, the purchase of a distribution company in the 90’s, that led to one very large problem, bankruptcy, an issue that seemed to remain even after the most desperate efforts.

However Marvel was saved by being purchased by the company Toy Biz and brought back up on its feet, rebranding Marvel Entertainment, dubbing it Marvel Enterprises. The company also stabilized the comics division and brought it back on its feet, and as the company came into the 2000’s they created and released 2 very successful film franchises, X-Men and Spider-Man.

In the late 2000’s one final very important thing would happen to Marvel Enterprises. In 2009, for an insane price of 4 billion dollars, Marvel was purchased by Disney. WIth Disney running Marvel a lot more opportunities were opened up for the various creators at Marvel, and the launch of the MCU. A huge series of films all tied in to one universe that appealed to all audiences and continues to provide fun experiences for viewers.

“I think that Marvel is so popular because they make good movies that help the company grow in popularity and give their characters attention,” says 7th grader Adrian Ojeda.

As a whole Marvel comics has come very far in its lifetime, and throughout it there have been many enjoyable events. There is no doubt in my mind that a Marvel product whether it be in the form of a comic book, art, or a movie, can have a very big impact on our mind and thoughts. In fact Marvel comics often serves as an inspiration for many young artists. Overall Marvel is a very enjoyable company that will continue to go on successfully for generations.